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On the other hand, well-used patterns can still be valuable and usable.
If the design is fantastic, unusual or rare, condition may not be as important.
If you’re paying more than a few dollars you need to ask if the pattern is complete.
An accomplished sewer may not mind a few missing pieces, but most of us need them all.
The easiest is when the maker has put the date on the envelope or on the instruction sheet.
Mc Call, later Mc Call’s, patterns are always dated.
However, poor condition and incompleteness do affect value, so pay accordingly.
And for an ordinary design, it might be better to wait for a copy in better condition.
Simplicity patterns were dated in the 1940s and into the 50s, on the instruction sheet. Simplicity stopped putting dates on most patterns in the early 50s, but in the mid 1960s they began printing it on the envelope back.
Vogue patterns were rarely dated, and until the late 1970s, Butterick patterns were never dated.
Most mail order patterns were not dated, though you could get lucky and find one in the original mailing envelope with a postmarked date.
The hairstyle, the garment style and length, even the printing fonts used can be hints as to the era of a pattern.
This is when knowing a bit about fashion eras can be valuable.
She became interested in these because she has fond memories of sewing them back in her youth. Their envelopes featured Hollywood starlets in the 1930s and 40s.